Apollo astronauts were equipped with Sony TC-50 cassette voice recorder/player (described in this answer) primarily for recording voice with mission related notes, but they could (and did) listen to pre-recorded mixtapes with their favourite songs, whilst coasting to/from the Moon.

An article from Miami Herald describes a (questionable to my view) isolated case of the Moon oddity:

Sinatra recording ["Fly Me To The Moon"] became immortal when Aldrin played it off of his NASA issued cassette player when he stepped onto the moon’s surface shortly after Armstrong.

In support of this claim the article is citing another article in New York Times from 1990:

“The first music played on the moon. I freaked!” [Quincy] Jones told The New York Times in 1990, recounting how Aldrin surprised him at a party to tell him how he’d chosen “Fly Me to the Moon” as the soundtrack for his space walk.

It seems very strange, to say the least, to play music on a moonwalk: if Buzz had the TC-50 strapped to the outside of his spacesuit, obviously without atmosphere no one would hear anything (hence what's the point?), and in order to be able to hear the music one has to somehow put the player inside the spacesuit, which no astronaut in his sanity would even think of doing.

On the other side, I've found an essay by Martin Chilton on independent.co.uk (a bit of long read though) that is calling the Aldrin's "moonwalk music" a myth and trying to debunk it:

...when he was 82, Aldrin took part in a Q&A at the Empire Hotel in New York, and his answers were recorded on his official website, buzzaldrin.com. “Is it true that the first music heard on the lunar surface was when you played Frank Sinatra’s ‘Fly Me to the Moon’?” he was asked. “No, I don’t remember that,” Aldrin replied.

(Emphasis on the above quotes mine)


Technically it was entirely possible to play music inside the Lunar Module while resting between/after EVA.

Question: Did any of Apollo atronauts play music from their mixtapes whilst on the moon surface (Update: what I really meant here was "inside LM, whilst LM was on the surface, i.e. not in flight")?

Did any of them even take the TC-50 into LM (from CM) when heading for the moon landing (from lunar orbit)?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Wikipedia says that the TC-50 played music in the spacecraft but I'm not sure if it's referring to the CM or the LM. I think it might be both. $\endgroup$ – Star Man Dec 30 '19 at 17:29
  • $\begingroup$ I would be extremely surprised if any music was played during a lunar EVA by an Apollo crewman performing that EVA. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Dec 30 '19 at 19:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble I agree (I have described my thoughts on inadequacy of this in the 6th paragraph, counting quotes as paragraphs too) , the main question I intended to ask is "did they play music inside LM when LM was on the surface?" (I thought it was logically obvious from the previous pagraph: "inside the Lunar Module while resting between/after EVA"), but perhaps I chose poor wording "on the surface" which didn't clearly include this. I will update the formulation. $\endgroup$ – LeoS Dec 30 '19 at 21:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.